8:30 Wednesday. The Breslin Center. BTN.
Since our 15-point win over Iowa on the road, the Hawkeyes have lost 4 of 6 games and now stand at 4-10 in conference play. They are coming off a thrilling overtime victory over Michigan, though.
As was true prior to our last match-up, Iowa’s only statistical strength continues to be shooting the ball:
|Category||MSU Off||Rk||Iowa Def||Rk|
|Category||Iowa Off||Rk||MSU Def||Rk|
Freshman Matt Gatens leads the way, scoring 12.0 points/game in conference play on 38.8% 3-point shooting. Fellow guards Jeff Peterson and Jake Kelly are both also averaging double digits and shooting 36%+ from beyond the arc. Kelly is coming off a three-game stretch of scoring at least 17 points per game.
I’m not going to do a full preview here. The key is clearly to avoid letting Iowa get Talor Battle/Kevin Coble hot from 3-point range. If that doesn’t happen, we’re simply the much superior team across the board. The rebounding advantage should be sizable, and Iowa is the rare team that we are heavy favorites to win the turnover battle against.
And the fact that the Hawkeyes are currently severely undermanned won’t help their cause. Cyrus Tate is still not close to 100%, and Peterson has been out of action, too. Four different Iowa players had to play all 45 minutes against Michigan (making Michigan’s inability to close the deal late that much more disturbing) as Todd Lickliter was forced to basically use a 5-player rotation (a couple more injuries and Lickliter may find himself yelling, “My team is on the floor!”).
Kenpom predicts a 67-54 MSU win in a 58-possession game. As MSU looks to round into top form for the Illinois and Purdue games, anything less than a 10-point lead at halftime will be a disappointment.